What are my rights if I was not given health insurance when promised?

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What are my rights if I was not given health insurance when promised?

I worked for this company while employed by a temp agency. When the company hired me from the agency, they said I would have health coverage in 3 months. When the time came, they kept putting me off and saying the HR person who handles that was busy. Then 2 months went by and they would not put through the insurance I was promised. I had a bout with pneumonia and I am asthmatic. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days with no insurance. I returned to work yesterday. Today, they approached me with insurance forms.

Asked on January 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to sue the company to force them to pick up the cost of your uninsured hospital stay. There are two theories under which you could potentially hold them liable:

1) Contract: when they offered you employment with benefits in 3 months and you accepted, that constituted a contract requiring them to provide you health benefits within that time frame.

2) Promissory estoppel: if you did something to your detriment (e.g. leaving an existing position) based on a reasonable reliance on their promise of getting health insurance, where they knew or should have known you'd do that (and also intended you to rely on their promise), that can be enough to make the promise binding.

Suing your employer, of course, is a drastic act, but for three days of hospital coverage, may be worth it. You should consult with an attorney about the situation and the costs, etc. of bringing a lawsuit. Good luck.


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